New robotic kidney tumor procedure benefits high-risk patients

12/27/2013

Less invasive kidney-cooling technique successful in patients with one kidney

Surgeons at Beaumont Health System are pioneering a technique that uses robotic surgery to remove cancerous kidney tumors in patients with only one kidney. Traditionally such high risk procedures were only performed through open surgery. Doctors at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak have now done tumor removal surgeries with this minimally invasive technique, known as a robotic partial nephrectomy with cooling, on seven patients - all successfully.

Explains robotic surgeon Sanjeev Kaul, M.D., a Beaumont urologist, “Our less invasive kidney-cooling technique can preserve kidney function, avoiding the need for dialysis or transplantation surgery. The use of ice enables us to cool the kidney and ensures we have a good blood and oxygen supply when resecting the tumor. Because of small incisions, it usually results in a shorter recovery for the patient, along with less pain and a shorter hospitalization.”

All seven patients previously had a kidney removed, because of cancer. Adds Dr. Kaul, “Removal of the only remaining kidney in these patients is not an option, since they would have to endure permanent dialysis or kidney transplantation.”

Traditionally a partial nephrectomy is performed through an open, larger incision. This typically results in a longer recovery for the patient, along with more pain and a longer hospital stay.

Says Dr. Kaul, “This robotic kidney cooling technique shows great promise in removing tumors from our very high-risk patients with only one kidney. The use of ice enables us to cool the kidney during keyhole surgery and prevents kidney damage while ridding the patient of cancer.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, kidneys are vital organs that maintain a balance of water and other substances in the body. Their main function is to filter blood. Kidneys remove waste and toxins from blood. They also produce hormones that control blood pressure, activate vitamin D and make red blood cells.

Each year approximately 51,000 adults in the U.S. develop kidney cancer. Renal cell cancer and transitional cell are the two most common types of kidney cancers.

About Surgery at Beaumont

Beaumont’s Surgery department offers patients the latest minimally invasive technology and treatments, with care provided by highly trained physicians, nurses and technicians. Beaumont offers bariatric; cardiovascular; colon and rectal; ear, nose and throat; eye; gynecological; hand; neurosurgery; oral and maxillofacial; orthopedic; pediatric; plastic; thoracic; trauma; urological and vascular surgery. Beaumont, Royal Oak is one of the highest-volume surgery centers in the country.